Recently, I've been making an effort to control the magnitude of the media consumption in my life by tying up loose ends. This means I've been finishing books, finishing series, and plowing through archives of unlistened-to music. I finished Twin Peaks & Ken Burns' Jazz in the last week. While that Ken Burns film is pretty annoying in a lot of ways, there is some excellent material in there, like this little gem which you may have seen if you are my friend on social networking behemoths Twitter & Facebook: When presented with the Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon, Ellington kissed Nixon four times. When the president asked why, Duke replied "one for each cheek."
Anyway, Money Jungle is an old favorite of mine. This recording is weird in a way that almost seems aggressive, but actually quickly settles into a feeling of "oh actually these guys are just way the fuck smarter than me." Listening to this thing is throwing off my internal equilibrium and I'm reeling around in my chair. Or maybe it's just weird allergy-related sinus pressure.
On the title track, Duke's piano trills and Mingus's bizarre bass slides and Roach's surprisingly hard-hitting drumming are legitimately unlike anything that I've ever heard. This is kind of like a Sun Ra record in that it exists entirely in its own musical paradigm. The theme to Wig Wise actually reminds me a lot of Thelonious Monk, with it's slightly off-kilter pacing and almost dissonant melody, with a playful-sounding resolution to the phrase.
I've been meaning to really dig into Duke's discography for awhile, and I'm gonna do that as soon as I've caught up on my "to listen to" folder. Life goals, man. Life goals.